Your Pain Is Our Pleasure
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April 26, 2010
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Logging in to report a sighting of "I'm just saying."
Today Pres. Obama, in a speech on Immigration issues, mentioned that Mitt Romney promised to veto the Dream Act. He then added, "I think that we should take him at his word. I'm just saying."
Jan, I think "I am not here to argue" is also an implied meaning of "just saying."
Also wanted to share an apt usage of the phrase that I spotted in a comment to the article on Gravity in the New York Times:
Jan, I think "refuse" is to strong. One declines to elaborate or defend because1) one wishes to avoid picking a fight. Sometimes the phrase "just saying," by suggesting that one is avoiding a fight, introduces a sense of contentiousness which was not there before2) one is not vehement about the statement. One just wants the other to consider. Underlying this is the suggestion that the other persons resistance itself indicates that it may have some truth to it.
Example: - Could he just be trying to get your attention?- No!- Just saying.
Yes, Emily, what you said:"I always thought of it as making yourself sound more innocent, especially if it follows some kind of biting comment or teasing remark."
But there is also the "protest too much" inflection with which one can say "just sayin" You (seem to) step back from what you said only to draw the other person closer to its truth.
"What if we didn't have ice cream for desert? Just sayin.""What if we don't go 75 miles an hour? Just sayin."
Perhaps in 2006 when this was posted, the saying was "I'm just saying." By now it has become "just sayin" and appears on national TV, in ads, and even on CNN as Jon Stewart famously pointed out: http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-august-18-2009/cnn-s-just-sayin- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/19/jon-stewart-mocks-cnn-for_n_262807.html
Used effectively, it allows one to say something bold or raise an uncomfortable question while assuring the listener that one does not mean to offend or pick a fight. In a more subtle usage, one tags this phrase to the end of a sentence in order to alert the listener that one has in fact said something controversial ("fighting words"), which might not have been evident from the statement alone. For example: "If we repair the levy this area will be able to withstand a hurricane. Just sayin."
Overused, it is yet another way to refrain from stating your view with conviction, just like the annoying habit of intoning statements as questions and demanding reassurance for every word and phrase before expressing a thought.
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